As if there wasn’t enough going on Friday night for the Rapid City Rush.
Never mind the on-ice clash between two of the top teams in the Central Hockey League, the Rush and Odessa Jackalopes. Also part of the night is the second annual “Pink at the Rink” promotion to raise awareness of breast cancer and other forms of cancer.
“It’s a great cause that we can raise that much money for cancer. Friday night’s going to be one of our biggest nights of the year,” Rush defenseman Jamie VanderVeeken said. “I can’t stress enough for the people we raise the money from. It’s not cheap to be sick like that, and we like to help any way we can.”
Rush players will be wearing pink specialty jerseys to be auctioned off after the game.
Volunteers from the Same Day Surgical Center and the RCRH Foundation will be collecting donations at the arena during the game.
Rush captain Luke Fritshaw has agreed to have his head shaved by the winning bidder for his jersey, if donations that night exceed $10,000.
Other players and staffers, including forwards Jon Pelle, Scott Wray, Colt King and defenseman Kirk Medernach, general manager Tim Hill, director of game operations John Hess, account executives Trevor Bowers, Denny Majeske and Brandon Schumacher have agreed to have their heads shaved as well.
Each fan attending the game will receive a pink rally towel and game sponsor Mid-Continent Cabinetry of Rapid City has sponsored drink koozies carrying the same design as the specialty jerseys.
Last year’s “Pink” promotion raised more than $50,000, with all proceeds split between the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation and the Rapid City Regional Hospital Foundation.
This year, the Rush have upped the ante, hoping to raise $60,000 to help the Regional Hospital Foundation purchase a Tomo therapy table, part of a high-intensity radiation therapy for cancer.
If we can get to $60,000, they will have enough to purchase this table,” said Hess. “All the money’s going to go right back to Rapid City. It’s not just breast cancer that it’s going to benefit, it’s any kind of cancer.”
Hess said the Rush Foundation has stepped aside and donated its portion of the jersey auction, which normally is used for a city park revitalization project, to the cancer cause.
Hess said the birthday board displayed on the arena’s video screen will be used instead to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer and those who are celebrating remission of the disease.
Hess said anyone wishing to have a name included on the board is asked to call the Rush office by 5 p.m. today.
“It’s something cool we can do to honor those who have been affected by cancer,” Hess said.